[box type=”note” align=”” class=”” width=””]This article is an excerpt from a book written by Renato Baruti titled Learning Alteryx. In this book, you will learn how to implement efficient business intelligence solutions without writing a single line of code using Alteryx platform.[/box]
In today’s tutorial, we will learn about Alteryx Server, an easiest and fastest way to deploy data intensive analytics across the organization.
What is Alteryx Server?
Alteryx Server provides a scalable platform for deploying and sharing analytics. This is an effective and secure establishment when deploying data rapidly. You can integrate Alteryx processes directly into other internal and external applications from the built in macros and APIs. Alteryx Server can help you speed up business decisions and enable you to get answers in hours, not weeks. You will learn about these powerful features that revolutionize data processing using Alteryx Server:
- Speed time-to-insight with highly scalable workloads
- Empower every employee to make data-driven decisions
- Reduce risk and downtime with analytic governance
Before learning about these powerful features, let’s review the Server Structure illustration so you have a solid understanding of how the server functions:
Enterprise Scalability allows you to scale your enterprise analytics that will speed time to insight. Alteryx Server will compute the data processing by scheduling and running workflows. This reliable server architecture will process data intensive workflows at your scalable fashion. Deploy Alteryx Server on a single machine or in a multi-node environment, allowing you to scale up the number of cores on your existing server or add additional server nodes for availability and improved performance as needed.
Ultimate flexibility and scalability
Highly complex analytics and large scale data can use a large amount of memory and processing that can take hours to run on analysts’ desktops. This can lead to a delay in business answers and sharing those insights. In addition, less risk is associated with running jobs on Alteryx Server, due to system shutdowns and it being less compressible compared to running on desktop. Your IT professionals will install and maintain Alteryx Server; you can rest assured that critical workflow backups and software updates take place regularly. Alteryx Server provides a flexible server architecture with on-premise or cloud deployment to build out enterprise analytic practice for 15 users or 15,000 users.
Alteryx Server can be scaled in three different ways:
- Scaling the Worker node for additional processing power: Increase the total number of workflows that can be processed at any given time by creating multiple Worker nodes. This will scale out the Workers.
- Scaling the Gallery node for additional web users: Add a load balancer to increase capacity and create multiple Gallery nodes to place behind a load balancer. This will be helpful if you have many Gallery users.
- Scaling the Database node for availability and redundancy: Create multiple Database nodes by scaling out the persistent databases. This is great for improving overall system performance and ensuring backups.
More hardware for Alteryx Server components may need to be added and the following table provides some guidelines:
Scheduling and automating workflow execution to deliver data whenever and wherever you want
Maximize automation potential by utilizing built-in scheduling and automation capabilities to schedule and run analytic workflows as needed, refresh data sets on a centralized server, and generate reports so everyone can access the data, anytime, anywhere. This will allow you to focus more time on analytic problems, rather than keeping an eye on your workflows running on the desktop. Let the server manage the jobs on a schedule.
You can schedule workflows, packages, or apps to run automatically through the company’s Gallery, or to a controller. Also, you can schedule to your computer through Desktop Automation (Scheduler). To schedule a workflow, go to Options | Schedule Workflow and to View Schedules go to Options | View Schedules as shown in the following image:
If you want to schedule to your company’s Gallery, you will need to connect to your company’s Gallery first. Add a Gallery if you aren’t connected to one. To add a Gallery, select Options | Schedule Workflow | Add Gallery. Type the URL path to your company’s Gallery and click Connect. The connection is made based on built-in authentication by adding your Gallery email and password or Windows authentication by logging in through your user name. The following screenshot shows the URL entry screen:
Schedule your workflow to run on a controller. A controller is a machine that runs and manages schedules for your organization. A token is needed to connect to the controller once the Alteryx Server Administrator at your company sets up the controller. To add a controller, select Options | Schedule Workflow | Add Controller. The following illustration is where you will add the server name and the controller token to proceed with connecting to the controller:
Sharing and collaboration
Data Analysts spend too much time customizing existing reports and rerunning workflows for different decision-makers instead of adding business value by working on new analytics projects. Alteryx Server lets you share macros and analytic applications, empowering business users to perform their own self-service analytics. You can easily share, collaborate on, and iterate workflows with analysts throughout your organization through integrated version control for published analytic applications.
The administrators and authors of analytic applications can grant access to analytic workflows and specific apps within the gallery to ensure that the right people have access to the analytics they need. The following image shows schedules on the Alteryx Analytics Gallery for easy sharing and collaboration:
Alteryx Server provides a built-in secure repository and version control capabilities to enable effective collaboration, allowing you to store analytic applications in a centralized location and ensure users only access the data for which they have permissions.
The following screenshot shows the permission types to assign for maintaining secure access and sharing deployment:
The goal of managing multiple teams collaborating together and deploying enterprise self-service analytics is to reduce downtime and risk, while ensuring analytic and information governance. Many organizations have become accustomed to a data-driven culture, enabling every employee to use analytics and helping business users to leverage the analytic tools available. You can meet service-level agreements with detailed auditing, usage reporting, and logging tools, and your system administrators can rest assured that your data remains safe and secure.
To summarize, we learned about Alteryx Server which has powerful abilities to schedule and deploy workflows to share it with your team. We also explored how the scheduler is used to process workflows and is helpful for running night jobs, since the server functions 24*7.
To know more about workflow optimization, and to carry out efficient data preparation and blending, do checkout this book Learning Alteryx.